If you’re not French or of Eastern European descent like me, you might not have eaten much, or, maybe even, ever heard of sorrel soup. Possibly, even sorrel might be a rather unknown plant.
It’s a shame because sorrel is super nutritious and healthy. It also tastes great, albeit unusual.
So let’s change this omission and learn how to make Polish sorrel soup. It is easy, fast, and delicious!
- What is Sorrel?
- What Does Sorrel Taste Like?
- Where to Buy Sorrel?
- Is Sorrel Nutritious?
- Does it Have Any Health Benefits?
- Is There Any Side Effect To Eating Sorrel?
- How to Eat Sorrel?
- Sorrel Soup Polish Way
- Polish Sorrel Soup
- How to Make Polish Sorrel Soup
- How to Serve Polish Sorrel Soup?
What is Sorrel?
Sorrel is a perennial green vegetable – even though some call it an herb. It belongs to the family of Polygonaceae (buckwheat) and is a cousin of rhubarb and buckwheat.
It looks very much like spinach, with a slightly lighter shade of green and it is eaten either raw or cooked.
What Does Sorrel Taste Like?
Sorrel tastes sour, not overly so, but sour enough to have been used in early Northern European societies as a plant adding that taste to dishes. It is rarely used for that reason anymore, ever since Europeans were introduced to citrus fruits from the warmer regions.
The sour taste is a bit tart, to me, reminiscent of not fully ripe kiwis.
Where to Buy Sorrel?
It might not be easy, but you can find sorrel in health food and some ethnic (Indian or Eastern European) stores and oftentimes on Framer’s Markets in the summer.
I planted two sorrel plants as soon as I started my garden a few years back. These two plants produce enough leaves for us, and they come back every year bigger and bushier.
Is Sorrel Nutritious?
Yes, it is! It is very low in calories but packs a lot of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Magnesium, and Manganese. It also contains pretty high levels of iron, copper, and potassium.
Aside from vitamins and minerals, sorrel is also rich in antioxidants such as phenolic acids Flavonoids, triterpenes, carotenoids, anthraquinones, naphthalenes, and stilbenoids (Healthline). Pretty impressive!
Does it Have Any Health Benefits?
Helps Fight Cancer
That is what I like to hear of course. With the impressive nutritional profile, especially all this vitamin C and A, sorrel is great in helping your immune defenses which is crucial when fighting cancer.
One specific type of sorrel is part of the famous Essiac tea which you might have heard of.
The variety of sorrel known as sheep sorrel is one of four ingredients in the herbal cancer treatment, Essiac tea.
Sheep sorrel has been known about for over a hundred years as a cancer-fighting herb and is believed to be “the main cancer-killing herb” in Essiac.Sorrel: Leafy Greens that Fight Everything from Canker Sores to Cancer
Aids in Treatment of Canker Sores
If you ever suffered from canker sores, you’ll know how difficult they are to treat. These little pecky wounds in the corners of the mouth which seem to reopen every time you open your mouth are a nightmare to get rid of.
Sorrel can help. It is enough to take a fresh, clean leaf of sorrel and place it in these corners of the mouth to soothe the discomfort.
Balancing of Blood Pressure
Thanks to its high content of potassium, sorrel helps lower blood pressure.
The tart taste of sorrel results from the high content of tannins (the same ones found in red wine and black tea). Tannins are polyphenols with astringent properties.
When dealing which a common cold with runny noses, eating sorrel might help!
Sorrel has been used with other herbs to treat bronchitis and sinus conditions in Germany since the 1930s.Sorrel: Leafy Greens that Fight Everything from Canker Sores to Cancer
Is There Any Side Effect To Eating Sorrel?
Sorrel is an oxalic acid-rich food. Because of this, it is important to consume sorrel in moderation.
Oxalic acid may contribute to kidney stones, so if kidney stones are a concern of yours, you might want to avoid eating sorrel. However, if this is not a concern, it is enough to consume sorrel in moderation and to offset the potential toxicity of the oxalic acid with added calcium to the dish.
Rather than eliminating oxalate-rich foods like sorrel from your diet, try to increase your intake of calcium, limit your salt consumption, and drink plenty of water to help prevent calcium oxalate kidney stonesHealthline
Also, it is crucial not to use aluminum or cast iron cookware when preparing sorrel because these metals will interact with oxalic acid and cause the herb to take on a metallic taste.
How to Eat Sorrel?
Sorrel is a versatile plant.
- You can eat it raw in salads, probably not on its own, but it will add a nice kick to a mixed greens salad.
- You can make a sorrel pesto. I like to make it just like a basil pesto but replace pine nuts with the sweeter cashews to offset the tart taste of the sorrel. It is delicious with gnocchi or pasta!
- Finally, my preferred method to consume sorrel – the sorrel soup!
Sorrel Soup Polish Way
When I was growing up in Poland, no one was growing sorrel in their gardens. Instead, we would venture to open fields and pastures and forage for it there.
Whenever mom or grandma was in a pinch to make a quick soup, she’d send us out to grab some sorrel off the fields. There was so much of it that even seeing some “cow patties” in the pastures was not a problem. It was easy enough to find plenty of clean sorrel leaves to whip up a soup in no time.
I like having my own sorrel in the garden now though. It produces so many leaves. You cut them one day and within a week or so, the plant seems even bushier than before! It grows in pretty much all climates and is very easy to cultivate. If you’re a gardener, get some seeds and start growing.
Since living in the US, sorrel soup has become my tradition away from home. We serve it at our home for Easter as an appetizer. And also many times more during the summer of course.
Polish Sorrel Soup
Here is the recipe passed down from my mom, her mom, and grandmother. It’s easy and oh, so yummy!
2 quarts of chicken or beef stock (or water for a vegetarian option)
1 lb of fresh sorrel (for me, this is around 4-5 handfuls of sorrel leaves)
2 medium carrots
1 medium white onion
1 TBS plain flour (or potato or corn starch for gluten-free option)
1 cup of sour cream (for that extra calcium!)
6 hard-boiled eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh dill to taste
How to Make Polish Sorrel Soup
Start warming the broth or water in a large pot.
Wash sorrel very well, spin in a salad spinner or dry with paper towels.
Optional: rip the leaves off the veiny stems. I do it to avoid the stringy fiber in my soup but it is because of my specific gut situation. If you can tolerate the extra fiber, then go for it.
Chop the sorrel and set it aside.
Add the chopped-up sorrel, the onion, and the carrots to a large pot and cover with the warmed-up broth.
Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes until the carrots are medium soft.
Take the carrots out and save them for later.
Mix the flour with ¼ cup of water and add to the soup. Bring back to boil to thicken.
Let the soup stand for a few minutes and then blend with a blender.
Optional: I like to strain my soup through a mesh strainer, to eliminate the fibrous material. Again, just a personal preference.
Add sour cream and mix well.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
How to Serve Polish Sorrel Soup?
My way to serve this soup is with cut-up carrots and one or one and a half hard-boiled eggs, drizzled with a bit of good olive oil and a bit of fresh dill as garnish.
Some like to place a cup of mashed potatoes in the middle of the bowl before pouring the soup into it. It makes for a thicker soup.
You can serve it with garlicky croutons or with a toast on the side.
I hope you’ll like it as much as we do!
Bon Appetit! Smacznego!